BMW X6 SUV (2014-2019)
"Its styling divides opinion, but there’s no denying the BMW X6 offers impressive performance, a great driving experience and serious road presence"
- Diesels mix power with economy
- Fun to drive for a large SUV
- Very luxurious inside
- Not exactly pretty
- Ride is firm in Sport mode
- Not as spacious as the BMW X5
Back when the BMW X6 first appeared around a decade ago, few could have guessed it would become such a trend-setter. Now though, not only does BMW offer a coupe version of its biggest BMW X5 SUV, but the smaller BMW X3 has also been given a coupe sister itself.
Other marques have been getting in on the act, too. Mercedes introduced a coupe version of its GLE just before the second-generation X6 was launched, and now offers the smaller Mercedes GLC Coupe, too. However, despite its curvaceous rear flanks, the X6 remains an SUV, and faces competition from conventional models like the Range Rover Sport and Audi Q78.
Not everybody understood the appeal of the original X6 when it was launched – its curvaceous rear end came at the cost of luggage space, so it's not as versatile as many conventional SUVs. However, there's no doubt its more dynamic stance means it stands out from the crowd – and that in itself is enough for many. It's certainly been a very popular car so far, helped by its luxurious interior and a driving experience good enough to challenge a Porsche Cayenne. So much so, in fact, that an all-new version is on its way.
There's no such thing as a slow BMW X6. Even the entry-level xDrive30d M Sport manages 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds thanks to its 254bhp, but there's even more power on offer from the xDrive40d and range-topping M50d. But those are just the diesels. Those who prefer petrol can opt for a 444bhp 4.4-litre V8, while a 567bhp X6 M ought to satisfy the tastes of even the most determined speed freak. Such is its specialist nature, we've reviewed the BMW X6 M separately.
Every X6 uses BMW's xDrive four-wheel-drive system, along with an automatic gearbox. The entry-level car's thirsty 33.6mpg fuel consumption comes as no surprise from such a big and powerful SUV, while CO2 emissions of 183g/km place it in the highest 37% bracket for Benefit-in-Kind company-car tax – a rating shared by every other model in the range. The more powerful xDrive40d also has 33mpg claimed fuel economy, but the M50d does 30mpg.
On the road, the X6 handles with aplomb. Despite weighing a shade over two tonnes, it changes direction with enthusiasm and accuracy, while body lean is minimal and speed is plentiful. Don’t mistake the X6 for a proper off-roader, though; while the four-wheel drive system gives plenty of grip, the low(ish) ride height and sports tyres will preclude anything more than light mud-plugging adventures.
Inside, the X6 is typical BMW. You get excellent built quality, a luxurious dashboard that’s angled towards the driver and plenty of standard equipment. Rear seat passengers pay the price for those sleek looks though: while legroom is reasonable, the sloping roofline means taller occupants may find their head brushing against the ceiling – although this is less significant than it was in the previous-generation X6. The 580-litre boot is large and well proportioned, even if the BMW X5 has roughly 10% more space.
The X6 is equipped to reflect its price. All models include leather sports seats (heated in the front), sat nav, front and rear parking sensors (useful as rear visibility isn’t great), voice recognition, a DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and ambient lighting. Additionally, you’ll get 20-inch alloy wheels, adjustable suspension, power-adjustable seats, a reversing camera and a sporty bodykit.
Although the X6 hasn’t gone through Euro NCAP safety testing, it should hold up well should the worst happen – partly aided by its tank-like heft and impressive build quality. All models come with BMW’s Emergency Call system, which alerts the emergency services and informs them of your location should you crash.
This completes what is an extremely comprehensive package, and one that's not short on appeal. If you're after a lantern-jawed SUV with an athletic feel, and are prepared to put your hand in your pocket to pay for it, the BMW X6 is an extremely desirable machine. With plenty of power on offer, the xDrive30d M Sport is our pick of the range.